What Do You Do With Special Pieces of Wood?

What Do You Do With Special Pieces of Wood?

In last issue’s eZine, Rob asked what fellow eZine woodworkers do with those extra-special pieces of wood you might find every once in a rare while. – Editor

“I take the James Krenov approach and, whenever possible, I just put it in the stash, pull it out every now and again to look at it and remember what I have, and occasionally the perfect project comes to mind. I figure I will know which piece of wood wants to be part of that object I am making. I have a piece of very curly maple that is waney edge on the back and an odd shape, but I know that one day I am going to see the perfect thing for it to become.”  – Erik Lustig

“I will sometimes buy a beautiful piece of wood without having a specific goal for it. I just couldn’t leave it. So I may have a unique piece of wood for a long time in storage with no real plan for it. That’s true of some I have now. How do I decide? The wood speaks to me in its time. For example, I have an unusual board that is spalted walnut. One day I will likely resaw it to make a beautiful desk or table, but its time has yet to come. One must be careful with this approach, however, because storage space might be filled up to the detriment of other, more prosaic [projects]. Come to think of it, I should be reorganizing my store room even now because my special boards need to make room for other lumber.” – Don Butler

“Several years ago, I purchased two clear black walnut boards.  Each board is 18 inches wide, 8 feet long and 1-1/4 inches thick.  I fell in love with these boards and had to have them.  Some day I’ll figure out what to make with them.  Until then, they just keep going up in value.” – Miles Gebauer


“I was fortunate to receive from a friend a lovely chunk of flame/crotch/rayed Missouri walnut, about 48″ x 14″ x 3″, quite a bit of natural edge, but with a severe checking, warp and twist.  Ended up straightening it as best I could, and resawing to about six or seven good 1/2″ planks.  The special project is an urn for my wife’s remains, still in work but close to final glue-up.  Took a while to get started on this, but now underway.” – Dale Smith (Editor’s Note: you can see pictures of Dale’s wood at the top of this article and above his comment.)

A couple of the comments focused not on the question about special pieces of wood, but on Rob’s comparison to another rare item – the fleeting season of homegrown tomatoes (complete with link to a song on the same subject by Guy Clark). – Editor

“No tomatoes until the middle of August?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  By the first part of August my tomatoes are all burned up from the heat and I’m back to those Mexican things again.” – Bob Hoyle

“Quoting Guy Clark, huh? This pleases me greatly along with the descriptive ‘poet.’ I enjoy your contributions to the written word and have been a huge fan of Guy Clark for a long time. He has written so many good songs, and there’s always a Guy Clark song popping up in our weekly ‘song circle.’  I love that Guy Clark has a workshop and worked on and built instruments.” – Dennis DesRoches

Stand Up Straight!

One reader, a chiropractor, had some comments about the model’s pose in the lead image on one of last week’s Free Plans, and some suggestions for those of you who might build such a project. – Editor

“As a chiropractor, I was very interested in the “Standing Laptop Desk” because any time you can avoid prolonged sitting, you should do it! However, when I saw the picture of the man at the desk, my spirits sunk.  The desk is way too short for this gentleman —  look at the way he is bent over!  He’d be better sitting straight for hours than standing that way.

A couple of pointers: the desk should be high enough so that, with his hands on the key board, his forearms would be parallel to the floor. (If more than one person will use the desk, the height should be adjustable.) His back should be straight; no bending at all! Ideally, he would have a separate screen so that he wouldn’t have to bend his head to look at it.” – Dr. Bruce Born

Posted in: